In the wake of the opening of the Creation Museum last year, as well as the increasing worldwide publicity being received now for the biblical creation movement as a whole, evolutionists have been working even harder to strengthen their hold on the public education system (especially in the United States)—and also to beef up evolutionary indoctrination in science museums, magazines, TV programs, and elsewhere.
Only four days into the new year, leading evolutionists have published a new book in an effort to keep creationist ideas out of the public school classroom. As soon as the book was released, the leading creation/apologetics organization in the world, AiG, was contacted by ABC (U.S.) television.
As a result, a news story on ABC-TV’s World News Tonight with Charles Gibson featured AiG and its museum last night. While not a lengthy segment, it was on national television and seen by several million viewers, so it was wonderful exposure for AiG and our Creation Museum. (Some of our museum’s impressive dinosaur exhibits were shown.) At the same time, this segment was also shown in AiG President Ken Ham’s home country of Australia (where he is right now) on the Sky News cable channel.
Dr. David Menton of our staff was asked by ABC producers to comment on this new book from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The book, Science, Evolution, and Creationism, is another attempt (though this is the third edition of an NAS book) to counter the growth of the creation/intelligent design movement—probably a recognition that the evolutionist indoctrination in schools has not worked as well as hoped (which ABC News alluded to).
Because a medical institute co-produced the book, Dr. Menton was the best choice to be interviewed, as Dr. Menton (with a PhD from Brown University) taught anatomy for more than 30 years at the prestigious School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.
On the news broadcast, Dr. Menton was seen asking: “Why are the evolutionists so defensive? If their ideas are so compelling, I would think they would welcome a challenge.”
The segment also reran a part of an interview Ken Ham did with ABC correspondent Dan Harris in late May, when Harris hosted a live broadcast remote at the museum for Good Morning America (just before the museum opened).
The following is what Dr. Menton shared with us about the interview (which was arranged late in the day Thursday, and thus we were not able to alert our supporters ahead of time so they could watch):
“The National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine describe themselves as advisors to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. They are now more adamant and dogmatic than ever that no criticism of evolution can be tolerated in our schools (much less teaching intelligent design or creation).
“This is the third edition of a book that first came out in 1985 and is available online free as a download. The purpose of the book is to help teachers in our public schools to more effectively indoctrinate students in evolutionism and to crush all dissent. Naturally they get significant media attention every time they come out with another edition. They now insist that one cannot practice medicine or even be a farmer without evolutionism. Specifically, they declare that we cannot combat new infectious diseases and develop new varieties of wheat without an understanding and unquestioning belief in evolution.
“They even insist that an understanding of evolution is necessary for industrial development. As an example of the role of evolutionary natural selection in industry, they point to chemists creating different variants of molecules and then testing them to see if they serve a desired function. One would think they would at least have the good sense to call such efforts artificial selection, but no—this is evolution by natural selection at work.
“The book gives ‘compelling’ evidence of visible evolution by citing variation in guppies in Trinidad. It also trots out the ‘usual suspects’ such as similarities between apes and men (and homology in general), the ‘walking’ fish Tiktaalik, 500 species of fruit flies on the Hawaiian Islands, and presumed whale evolution.
“Finally, the book insists that intelligent design and creation are not supported by scientific evidence. They continue to argue that evolution and religion are compatible. I found myself wishing they would actually implement their own definition of science: ‘The use of evidence to construct testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena.’ Then design a critical experiment to test the speculation that life evolved from non-life or that feathers evolved from scales. It’s endless.”
Meanwhile, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams also broadcast a story about the new book, but it did not interview a scientist with either the creation or intelligent design movement, choosing instead to interview a spokesperson with the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.
Nothing New Under the Sun
It is difficult to believe (though frankly we’ve seen it many times before) that secular scientists would be so bold as to claim that a person can’t practice medicine or be a farmer if they did not believe in evolution. Creationists have pointed out numerous times (including many articles on our website) that new varieties in a plant or animal kind have nothing to do with molecules-to-man evolution. Medical doctors who deal with bacterial or viral resistance to drugs are not engaged in anything resembling molecules-to-man evolution; none of these examples involves brand-new information added into the genes. They only involve variation based on the information already present.
To find out more about the book, read the news release below issued by the publisher (forwarded to us by ABC News); meanwhile, read the article by AiG’s Dr. Georgia Purdom on virus evolution (a topic mentioned in the news release as well as in the book) and a refutation of Tiktaalik supposedly being a transitional form (written by Dr. Menton) at: Tiktaalik and the Fishy Story of Walking Fish, Part 2.
We praise God that AiG has developed resources like our own book Evolution Exposed to help young people in our public schools be better equipped to deal with the increasing evolutionary indoctrination they are receiving. And it’s also wonderful to have top-notch scientists such as Drs. Menton and Purdom here on staff to research and write on creation—and to occasionally appear before the media.
Check out our special website of www.evolutionexposed.com, a resource that is a companion to the Evolution Exposed book. Also, learn how U.S. supporters can order bulk copies (36 per case) of this popular book so that they can distribute them to students in public high school or universities.
Once our staff has read the just-released NAS/IOM book, we will post a full review on the website. Be sure to check back soon.
NEWS RELEASE [from the publisher]
Date: Jan. 4, 2008
Contact: Maureen O'Leary, Director of Public Information
Office of News and Public Information
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SUPPORTING EVOLUTION CONTINUES TO GROW; NONSCIENTIFIC APPROACHES DO NOT BELONG IN SCIENCE CLASSROOMS
WASHINGTON -- The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) today released SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM, a book designed to give the public a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the current scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom. Recent advances in science and medicine, along with an abundance of observations and experiments over the past 150 years, have reinforced evolution's role as the central organizing principle of modern biology, said the committee that wrote the book.
"SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM provides the public with coherent explanations and concrete examples of the science of evolution," said NAS President Ralph Cicerone. "The study of evolution remains one of the most active, robust, and useful fields in science."
"Understanding evolution is essential to identifying and treating disease," said Harvey Fineberg, president of IOM. "For example, the SARS virus evolved from an ancestor virus that was discovered by DNA sequencing. Learning about SARS' genetic similarities and mutations has helped scientists understand how the virus evolved. This kind of knowledge can help us anticipate and contain infections that emerge in the future."
DNA sequencing and molecular biology have provided a wealth of information about evolutionary relationships among species. As existing infectious agents evolve into new and more dangerous forms, scientists track the changes so they can detect, treat, and vaccinate to prevent the spread of disease.
Biological evolution refers to changes in the traits of populations of organisms, usually over multiple generations. One recent example highlighted in the book is the 2004 fossil discovery in Canada of fish with "intermediate" features -- four finlike legs -- that allowed the creature to pull itself through shallow water onto land. Scientists around the world cite this evidence as an important discovery in identifying the transition from ocean-dwelling creatures to land animals. By understanding and employing the principles of evolution, the discoverers of this fossil focused their search on layers of the Earth that are approximately 375 million years old and in a region that would have been much warmer during that period. Evolution not only best explains the biodiversity on Earth, it also helps scientists predict what they are likely to discover in the future.
Over very long periods of time, the same processes that enable evolution to occur within species also can result in the appearance of new species. The formation of a new species generally takes place when one subgroup within a species mates for an extended period largely within that subgroup, often following geographical separation from other members of the species. If such reproductive isolation continues, members of the subgroup may no longer respond to courtship from members of the original population. Eventually, genetic changes become so substantial that members of different subgroups can no longer produce viable offspring. In this way, new species can continually "bud off" of existing species.
Despite the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution, opponents have repeatedly tried to introduce nonscientific views into public school science classes through the teaching of various forms of creationism or intelligent design. In 2005, a federal judge in Dover, Pennsylvania, concluded that the teaching of intelligent design is unconstitutional because it is based on religious conviction, not science (Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District). NAS and IOM strongly maintain that only scientifically based explanations and evidence for the diversity of life should be included in public school science courses. "Teaching creationist ideas in science class confuses students about what constitutes science and what does not," the committee stated.
"As SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM makes clear, the evidence for evolution can be fully compatible with religious faith. Science and religion are different ways of understanding the world. Needlessly placing them in opposition reduces the potential of each to contribute to a better future," the book says.
SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM is the third edition of a publication first issued in 1984 and updated in 1999. The current book was published jointly by the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine, and written by a committee chaired by Francisco Ayala, Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, department of ecology and evolutionary biology, University of California, Irvine, and author of several books on science and religion. The book was funded by the NAS, IOM, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation, the Biotechnology Institute, and the Coalition of Scientific Societies.
Copies of SCIENCE, EVOLUTION, AND CREATIONISM will be available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242, or on the Internet at www.nap.edu/sec, for $12.95; a PDF version is FREE. Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contact listed above). In addition, a podcast of the public briefing held to release this publication is available at http://national-academies.org/podcast. The NAS' evolution resources Web page, http://national-academies.org/evolution, allows easy access to books, position statements, and additional resources on evolution education and research.
The National Academy of Sciences is an independent society of scientists, elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to their field, with a mandate from Congress since 1863 to advise the federal government on issues of science and technology. The Institute of Medicine was created in 1970 by the NAS to provide science-based advice on matters of biomedical science, medicine, and health.